Undergraduate & Graduate Catalog
Graduate Programs
Academic Year:

Water Science & Policy (MS, PhD)

Telephone: 302-831-8877

The interdisciplinary program capitalizes on existing strengths of University of Delaware faculty from many departments across four colleges:
Students in the program will be advised by any of the faculty affiliated with the program. Upon completing the program, your degree will be granted by the college in which your adviser is housed.
The Water Science & Policy Program offers three degree options:
  • A Ph.D. with a water science concentration (36 credits),
  • A Ph.D. with a water policy concentration (36 credits), and
  • A Master of Science with thesis (30 credits)

For both the Ph.D. and the M.S. degrees, you must take courses across five categories, which include the following:
  • Physical science
  • Chemical/biological science
  • Policy
  • Research methods
  • Statistics and analysis

Doctoral Programs

The distribution of the total 36 credits for the water science and the water policy concentration areas is provided below.
Concentration Water Science Water Policy
Water Science (physical, chemical, biological) 9 3
Water Policy 3 9
Research Methods 3 3
Statistics, Analysis, Techniques 3 3
Directed Research 9 9
Dissertation 9 9

Master’s Program

If you choose the master’s degree option, you will select 24 credits of coursework in consultation with your adviser, with at least three credits from each of the five categories above. With adviser approval, you may substitute directed research in lieu of one course in categories a, b, or c. The balance of the required 30 credits is in thesis work.

Special Features
  • The University of Delaware offers superb laboratory, informatics, library, environmental sensing and shared core instrumentation facilities.
  • Delaware is ideally located near government agencies and NGOs in Washington, DC, and New York.
  •  The faculty solicited input from their own graduate students in developing the program.
  •  The program especially encourages student interaction with water professionals in research institutions, government agencies, environmental organizations and industry that will enrich the educational experience and provide professional opportunities. Some of the agencies include Stroud Water Research Center, US Geological Survey, US Fish & Wildlife Service, Delaware Department of Natural Resources & Environmental Control, Chesapeake Bay Program, World Health Organization

Potential Career Paths

Students graduating from the Water Science and Policy program can pursue numerous exciting, water-related career opportunities with academia, national research laboratories (e.g., Oak Ridge National Lab, Pacific Northwest National Lab), federal agencies (e.g., Environmental Protection Agency, US Geological Survey, US Fish and Wildlife Service, US Natural Resource Conservation Service, US Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service, US Forest Service), state agencies associated with environmental issues (Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control), private consulting companies (CH2M HILL, Ecology & Environment), nongovernmental and nonprofit agencies (Conservation International, World Resources Institute), and numerous international agencies (e.g., International Water Management Institute, World Agroforestry Center).

Admission Requirements

To be admitted to the Water Science & Policy Program you should meet the following requirements:
  1. A University of Delaware Graduate Studies Application. In the application form, please indicate clearly whether you are applying for an MS or Ph.D. program. For the Ph.D., select either the Water Science or Water Policy concentration. You may apply to the program prior to arranging for a faculty adviser; however, you must have the agreement of a program faculty member to serve as your adviser for admission to the program.
  2. Personal Statement. Please discuss the following questions in your statement:
  • What are your specific research and educational goals?
  • What are you're long-term professional goals?
  • How do you see this program assisting you with achieving your objectives?
  • What is the name of the faculty member (affiliated with the program) who has agreed to be your adviser, if known?
  1. The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) General test (Verbal and Quantitative) is required. Competitive scores are approximately 156 (Verbal), and 151 (Quantitative), and 3.5 (Writing).
  2. Transcripts. Submit official, up-to-date transcripts of all undergraduate and graduate programs. A minimum GPA of 3.0 out of 4.0 is required in your major.
  3. Letters of Recommendation. Submit three letters of recommendation from individuals who are knowledgeable about your academic preparation and potential ability as a graduate student.
  4. Test of English as a Foreign Language. This is required of all international students. TOEFL scores must be less than two years old and meet minimums of 550 on the paper test, 213 on the computer test, or 79 on an Internet-based test.

Admission to graduate programs is competitive. Meeting the stated requirements is not a guarantee of admission, nor does failure to meet all of the requirement preclude you from admission if you offer other appropriate strengths.

Applicants for the Ph.D. programs will typically have a master’s degree in a related field. Direct admission to the Ph.D. program immediately after a B.S. degree will only be considered for exceptional candidates as determined by the Program Committee and will still need to complete all requirements associated with the MS program prior to starting the Ph.D. curriculum.

Application Deadlines

Admission decisions are made on a rolling basis as and when applications are complete. The application deadlines are
  • Fall semester: July 1 (regular application); March 1 (financial aid)
  • Spring semester: December 1 (regular application); October 1 (financial aid)

Financial Aid

Admission to the program does not automatically guarantee that students will receive financial aid. Students may seek opportunities for aid, such as fellowships or scholarships from sources both inside and outside the University. Check with your potential adviser and the Graduate & Professional Education website for the most current opportunities.

Financial aid is awarded on a competitive basis from the pool of admitted applicants. Preference for stipends will be given to students in the Ph.D. program. Students may apply for a graduate assistantship, which take one of two forms:

Research Assistantships (RAs) are generally funded by research grants and contracts provided by external funding agencies. Students may be supported as an RA through their faculty adviser’s research funds after their first year. A research assistantship provides full tuition and a stipend. The adviser is responsible for defining your responsibilities and evaluating your performance. The amount of service or research may vary, but is usually about 20 hours per week on average.

Teaching Assistantships (TAs) are offered for graduate students who perform teaching and other instructional activities and are awarded by the primary adviser and his or her department. The amount of service is generally about 20 hours per week. A teaching assistantship provides full tuition and a stipend.

Although every effort has been made to assure the accuracy of the information in the Catalog, students and others who use the Catalog should note that the policies, rules, regulations, requirements for graduation, course offerings, and other materials reproduced in the Catalog change from time-to-time and that these changes may alter the information contained in this Catalog. see Legal Statement
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